Chapter 61305680

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Chapter NumberIX
Chapter Url
Full Date1899-12-16
Page Number6
Word Count1164
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleClarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 - 1915)
Trove TitleFrom Convict to Countess
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Next morning Eric sauntered about, inspecting the camp. Evidently it .was unapproachable, except over tho saddle, with its precipices on either hand. Ho crept cautiously to the edges of the rocks and peered far down. - Tho trees looked like green grass, At various points he caught a gleam' of water, aa some rivulet

Continued on Paga 7 ol ibis issue.

I Continued from Page 6.

splashed down its mountain bed ; bnt the greater depths were shrouded in a veil of mist, as if the earth, like a coy bride, were not ready for the great luminary of day which cometh like a bridegroom ont of. his chamber to woo the earth. - . . - I

Clearly there was no way of escape, unless the vigilance of the sentry

conld be eluded. .

The day was considerably advanced when a' message was brought to the Earl, saying that the chief wished to see him on business, and he was con- ducted into the cave, which he had not entered as yet. ' ' "

It was a hall of considerable size, the roof lofty, with a great table in the centre which conld seat twenty five or thirty men. Massive and broad benches lined the edges, bnt at the ends there were wooden chairs, ono at the top and two at the bottom. Three huge lamps hung suspended to a wire which ran the length of, the apartment, fastened to the walls at either end. On the table lay drinking vessels, cups, chalices of wood, clay, stone and silver. At one or two places in the walls darker shadows pointed to various rooms, store, sleeping, and otherwise, and a splash, as of falling water, sounded soothingly with tho sigh of the breeze. But there ÍB no peace for the wicked, thought Eric, as, in ; obedience to' a motion, ho seated himself at tho right hand of the brigand, who occupied the chair at the

head of the table.

" And now to business, if you have rested, Signor."

Eric said he had slept well, and was prepared to listen. I

" Thon," said the chief," " I know that Englishmen ' are men of' their word, and I know also they are rich and more pleasant guests than my own countrymen; for i think all Italians aro ? deceitful, except myself. You smile, Signor, but it is so. I havè a virtue ; I keep my word. Now, we have arranged the amount of your ransom. , It is .800 zecohinos." Ho paused, looking keenly at Eric. : But the impassive face of thc Englisman told nothing.

'. "That, of course, includes my


"Unfortunately, it is not so, Signor. Of course we do not insult you by rating the ' servant- as high' ns his master. We estimate him at 300." .

" And how is tho money to bo paid,

and where?"

"In tho.ordinary way, on tho great plain, through which runs' tho via Romano, this side of Villaturo. Your agent, accompanied by ono servant on horseback, and bringing two lcd horses for yourself and man, will bring tho money ; and you, tho prisoners, cs rcorted- by half-a-dozen of my men, who will receive tho, gold and i hand over their prisoners."

"That sounds feasible, Cn ptain; but what is thero to prevent your mon ] carrying back both prisoners and gold?" >

; " My word, Signor."

" Well, is there any thing else ?" said Eric. ' ; .,

" Our system of business !" .

, " Yes," said Eric, " I trust you ;; you don't trust me."

"Yes, Signor; but| I don't have to trust you, and you do havo to trust me.", ? '

" Just so, Captain. Havo any prisoners done this thing boforo ?"

" Oh, yes, Signor, many. If wo did. not carry out our arrangements faithfully no one would send ransom. It is for our sake as well as yours that

wo aro exact."

" Well," said Erio, "I supppso there is no other way."

" Then, Signor, write an open letter to your agent in Borne. I will send it by a safe hand. > When your agent ¡ returns, ho may bring four soldiers as a guard, but no moro. They must remain at ?Villaturo. But if he is nervous, tho Syndic of tho village .will accompany him, to tho tryst on the plain. Waich/will be set» arid if' these .arrangements aro . not .'carried ¿ut to the letterj anil there is any suspicion of treachery, it' will cause an unpleasant accident." . ?.

" Can you find me writing ma- terials, Captain ?" .

" Si, Signor. . Phillippo,-paper and ink for the. Englishman.'. .

' After Eric had commenced his . letter, ho addressed - the brigand. " Ono word. What about the girl ?" . " Oh," said Cnmillo, "her friends will havo to pay." v : .' ;.

" I suppose you fixed her ransom at the samo time you arranged the

others ?" .

- " Si, Signor."

There was a pause.

" Well, Captain,' I feel interested in tho woman, and I should like to take her away with ns, and it may be a convenience to her and to you to finish tho business at one stroke. What is tho amount?"

" For the girl, Signor ?"

"Yes." '

" I will say 300."

Very well ; my friend would lend that much for tho girl,, and I will writo for the whole amount. . That will bo 1400 zecchinos ?"

" Si, Sginor."

" And I have your word that she will bo allowed to go free with me."

" Si, Signor."

"Very well; hero is an order for tho mouoy and a letter for my friend. How long will it take, to got the money ?" s

" Nino or ten days, Signor."

" It seems a long timo to wait," tho Earl said, after tho brigand had gone, and he had rejoined Jim. " I am tired of this place, now j but wo must possess our souls in patience. I will try and relievo tho young woman's anxiety."

t" Signora Del Fiore," he said, "I havo sent for your ransom along with our own, and we expect it in ten days."

To fae continued in noxt Tuesday'a issue. .

One of the most original women agricul- turists'ia'Amerlaâ is Miss SuBan Fowler, who lives at .Vineland, N.J., where «he worlcB htr own farm, oven to ploughing, although she is 7» years old. Bhe te a Kraut ohampion uf drosB reform, and still weirs bloomer*, whloh. BB she says, befit her occupation, Miss ' Fowler has' received many offers of marrlnge, In spito of her nnnsnal dress nnd opinions, but she says that she bas remained singlo because she hnB not succeeded in meeting her Ideal man,